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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For August 7:
Captain Lewis (current)
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At 4 P.M. we arrived at the entrance of the Yellowstone River. I landed at the point and found that Captain Clark had been encamped at this place and from appearances had left it about 7 or 8 days. I found a paper on a pole at the point, which merely contained my name in the handwriting of Captain Clark. We also found the remnant of a note which had been attached to a piece of elkhorn in the camp. From this fragment I learned that game was scarce at the point and mosquitoes troublesome, which were the reasons given for his going on. I also learned that he intended halting a few miles below, where he intended waiting for my arrival.
I now wrote a note directed to Cotter and Collins provided they were behind, ordering them to come on without loss of time. This note I wrapped in leather and attached to the same pole which Captain Clark had planted at the point. This being done, I instantly re-embarked and descended the river in the hope of reaching Captain Clark's camp before night.
About 7 miles below the point on the S.W. shore I saw some meat that had been lately fleeced and hung on a pole. I directed Sergeant Ordway to go on shore and examine the place. On his return, he reported that he saw the tracks of two men which appeared so recent that he believed they had been there today. The fire he found at the place was blazing and appeared to have been mended up afresh or within the course of an hour past. He found at this place a part of a Chinook hat, which my men recognized as the hat of Gibson. From these circumstances we concluded that Captain Clark's camp could not be distant and pursued our route until dark with the hope of reaching his camp. In this, however, we were disappointed; and night coming on compelled us to encamp on the northeast shore in the next bottom above our encampment of the 23rd and 24th of April, 1805.
Reprinted by permission of the American Studies Programs at the University of Virginia.
The complete text can also be downloaded for printing from their website.